The Lawyer of the Ukrainian Political Prisoners Vasilets and Timonin Described How It Was Possible to Free the Journalists

Translated from Russian by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

22/02/2018 1/2

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Despite the show with the participation of the President and the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, the main topic of yesterday certainly became the release of the journalists Vasilets and Timonin. The verdict in the case on “Internet channel ‘Novorossiya TV'”, which threatened the journalists with nine years of imprisonment, was torn up before the eyes. The Court of Appeal sent the case for revision, and Vasilets and Timonin were released from prison.

Actually, this is indeed an assessment – of both the verdict and the court that handed it down. Already before journalists were found guilty, there were many statements that the charges were fake. However, the judges carried out the order and didn’t hear the arguments.

In the story of Vasilets and Timonin the situation with other journalist – Kotsaba, who was also condemned by the court of the first instance and released as a result of an appeal – has repeated. All of this says that in the judicial system, in parallel with corrupt judges, there are also those for whom the law is not an empty phrase.

Moreover, the acquittal of journalists testifies to the complaisance of the judicial system in relation to the “wishes” of the authorities will further decrease. Not much time is left until 2019, and judges perfectly understand that they will be forced to be responsible for their ordered sentences.

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Lawyer of Vasilets and Timonina told how they managed to release journalists

Elena Lyoshenko, the lawyer of the journalists Dmitry Vasilets and Evgeny Timonin – accused of assisting terrorists and separatism, reported to “Strana” that decision of the appellate court on February 21st is the cancellation of the 9-year verdict and the new consideration of the case.

“Normally this is how it happens, and this is provided by the Criminal Procedure Code – when during adjudgment by the first instance gross violations of the norms of the substantive and procedural law are committed. And the second important moment is the fact that the measure of restraint was changed. And they are already at home,” said Elena Lyoshenko.

According to her, the defence managed to squeezed out most of the appeal during consideration. And this was very hard, considering how hindered and obstructed  lawyers were, trying to change the jurisdiction when the case already started being considered in the appeal court.

“That’s why this is the best decision that there could be in our case,” said the lawyer.

During further consideration of the case the defence will insist on the innocence of both persons involved.

Elena Lyoshenko noted that events could develop in another way. For example, the decision of the first instance could be left without changes (according to which both are found guilty and would receive 9 years).

“But we even didn’t consider this option, taking into account all the obvious and gross violations that were committed,” said the lawyer.

At the same time, the pronouncement of a not-guilty verdict on February 21st concerning the case of the journalists was regarded by the defence as improbable, taking into account political factors and the course of consideration of the case.

“There couldn’t be a verdict of not guilty. After all, we all understand realities. And we assess the situation and opportunities objectively,” she said.

At the same time the lawyers of Vasilets and Timonin intend to prove the full innocence of their clients in the crimes incriminated to them during the consideration of the case in the court of the first instance.

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